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Cliff Bergdahl memorial

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We lost our wonderful friend and Plankton Records recording artist (solo artist, Really Free Band, Bergdahl & Fielding) CLIFF BERGDAHL to Covid-19 last December in the height of lockdown and social distancing so his funeral took place under the strict restrictions in place at the time.

So it is good that today (23rd October) all of his family and friends were able to gather for a service of thanks giving and celebration of Cliff’s life at All Souls, Langham Place in Central London and also online for those who could not attend in person, which included for various reasons both Plankton Records partners, Simon and Keith.

The service was a fitting celebration of Cliff the man, the musician, evangelist and true follower of Jesus. His children all took part in the service, with his son Jonathan brilliantly performing Cliff’s beautiful song ‘One Day’ that featured on his Plankton Records album “The Cry of Urgency” and the 80’s line up of Really Free Band (RFB) also performed the instrumental track ‘Jesus Our Love’ from the RFB Plankton album “Never Surrender”, a favourite track of Cliff’s.

A God filled service in honour of a God filled man. Cliff, we love you and we miss you but we are thankful to have known and worked with you.

Members of Really Free Band performing Cliff’s instrumental track “Jesus our Love” at the service

TWO SPECIALS of Plankton radio show

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Following  the successful launch and run of the weekly radio programme featuring the songs and music from our 40+ year music history and back catalogue called “THE PLANKTON PLAYLIST” on UK radio station FLAME CCR, programme host and Plankton Records partner Keith Dixon announced news of two special programmes to be broadcast at the end of August.

Keith shared “I’ve been trying to pull this together for some time and I’m delighted to confirm that due to the miracles of Zoom and coordinated diaries that my pal, my partner in crime at the label and the founder of Plankton Records SIMON LAW is joining me to co-host two special editions of THE PLANKTON PLAYLIST where we will talk about our (the label’s) long association and involvement with the Greenbelt Festival – the UK Christian arts festival.”

“We are going to try and cover Simon, mine and the label’s history with the festival dating back to 1974 and up to the present day and we will be playing music by Plankton artists who have appeared at the festival over the years. The biggest challenge is going to be trying to squeeze in everything we want to say and share into 2 x 30 minute radio programmes! Once Simon and I start talking music and Plankton it’s hard to keep un concise and on-track!”

“The programmes will be going out at 1.00pm BST (lunchtime) on Sunday August 22nd and 29th and each special will be repeated on Monday at 9.30pm, Thursday at 4.30pm and Friday at 9.30pm during the week of their broadcasts. I can’t wait for these programmes I think they are going to be brilliant and of course the songs featured will be added to our Spotify playlist of the same name which when these programmes are added will be feature over 100 Plankton Records released songs!”

Broadcasting in Flame’s local area (Merseyside and North Wales) on 1521 MW, the station and the programme can also be listened to via major internet portals/apps Worldwide (such as Tune In or Radioplayer) or via Amazon Alexa/Echo ( Say “Alexa, open Radioplayer”. When Alexa answers, it will tell you about Radioplayer, then it will ask you something like “do you want me to continue?” Answer YES, then say “Alexa, ask Radioplayer to play Flame CCR”) or via the station’s website www.flameradio.org

To see/listen to THE PLANKTON PLAYLIST on Spotify (CLICK HERE)

For FLAME CCR website (CLICK HERE)

More titles available on digital

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We are always trying to find ways to make more of our older releases available on all digital sites and platforms Worldwide and we are so pleased to announce that 2 very different titles from the early 1990s are now available on the site/platform of your choice.

Marc Catley’s THE PEEL OF HOPE is a very funny satirical album. Here’s what one review said of the album at its time of release: “Marc Catley, the extremely talented acoustic music man with a not undeserved reputation for outspokenness, is really taking the golden cow by the horns by lampooning…(gasp)…praise and worship music. In addition the serious intent behind it is a call for higher standards in worship and art and a call for a true understanding of how the Spirit works in creativity. It is on first listen very funny. The opener “Jesus Is Ace” wickedly caricatures all those banal choruses we’ve been tortured with down the years while with titles like “Forward Masking”, “My Guardian Angel Drives A White Sierra” and “Lord I Really Just Want Lord To Praise You Lord Just As I Really Am Right Now Lord” you’ve got an insightful commentator going for the jugular. If you want to stir up a hornet’s nest, buy this for your worship leader.”

True Addiction’s VOLUME 1 3 song EP couldn’t be more different as the band perform their silky smooth UK jazz funk. Here’s a review of the EP at its time of release: “A debut EP from a seriously funky outfit. With most musicians who make this kind of soulful pop rushing headlong into an increasingly computer generated soundscape, it really is a refreshing change to hear some funk being played by human beings holding real instruments. True Addiction conjure up an almost forgotten world of neat, understated, funky guitar licks and clever rhythm sections. But whilst the playing is tight it’s the vocals that mark this band out as genuine contenders. Three strong songs too.”

So please seek them out and check them too

New Plankton Records weekly radio show

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Following on from the well-received Christmas 2020 one-off programme, a brand new weekly radio programme featuring the songs and music from our 40+ year music history and back catalogue called “THE PLANKTON PLAYLIST” is to be broadcast on UK radio station FLAME CCR and it will be hosted by Plankton Records partner Keith Dixon.

Keith shared “The first programme will be going out at 1.00pm (lunchtime) on Sunday April 11th but it will also be repeated each week on the following Monday at 9.30pm, Thursday at 4.30pm and Friday at 9.30pm. Each programme is 30 minutes long and I’m having a great time compiling and presenting them. The first song featured on the first programme is the first song on side one of the first album we ever released back in 1978 – where else could we start!”

He went on “In addition to the radio show I wanted to do something a bit different to try and help introduce people to PlanktonRecords music and our great artists so I’ve also set up a playlist on SPOTIFY and I will be adding the songs from each programme to it as they are broadcast. That’s the main reason we called the programme ‘THE PLANKTON PLAYLIST” so we can give the same name to the actual playlist on Spotify too. Very simple, direct and to the point. I’m hoping people will pick up on the connection and re-listen and enjoy again the songs featured on the programmes”

Broadcasting in Flame’s local area (Merseyside and North Wales) on 1521 MW, the station and the programme can also be listened to via major internet portals/apps Worldwide (such as Tune In or Radioplayer) or via Amazon Alexa/Echo (simply instruct “Alexa, play Flame Radio”) or via the station’s website www.flameradio.org

To see/listen to THE PLANKTON PLAYLIST on Spotify (CLICK HERE)

For FLAME CCR website (CLICK HERE)

Cliff Bergdahl (1946-2020) Remembering a friend

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We were deeply saddened to learn of the passing of our old friend and Plankton recording artist CLIFF BERGDAHL on Tuesday December 29th 2020 from COVID. As we post this, Cliff’s wife Char is/was in hospital still battling with COVID herself. So please keep Char and all of their family in your prayers with all they have and are going through and dealing with.

Cliff released 5 projects with Plankton Records. In the 1980s there were 3 Really Free Band releases (2 cassettes and a vinyl LP) and then I (Keith Dixon) met with Cliff more and got to know him properly when we were sorting out the artwork etc for his mid-1990s solo album and more recently I worked very closely with him on the 2018 family EP released under the name ‘Bergdahl & Fielding’ which featured Cliff & Char, their children and their grand children too – a very musical family!

But our founder and still current Plankton partner SIMON LAW goes way back with Cliff – to the mid 70s and pre- Plankton days! Simon writes in memory and recognition of his and our old friend…

“I first met Cliff at a Youth for Christ ‘Coffee Bar’ being held in Churchill Baptist Church in Walthamstow, East London on Saturday 24th November 1973. He was playing with his band “Really Free”, with Mark Millin on drums and Steve Coburn on bass. I was immediately struck by the music – especially the epic ‘Pray for Belfast’ about the troubles in Northern Ireland – but also the communication. Cliff was an evangelist and spoke about Christ before every song! The DJ in the church hall that night was playing some acetates that I had recorded with Dennis Blackham – Cliff thought that I was the guitarist and asked me to join the band! I had to confess that the lead guitar was being played by session musician Chris West, and that I hadn’t reached that standard (yet!). I didn’t join that night (the pull of the band I was currently in and my girlfriend – who was the bassist – was too strong). However, fast forward nine months to August 1974. My band “Ebb Tied” were playing at the ‘Bromley Festival of Praise’ with “Really Free” (see * below). Cliff’s rhythm section was on the verge of leaving, and he asked me once again to join – I started thinking about it once more, and finally did join the band in November of that year.

Cliff was born in Queens, New York and came to England in 1968 to study Theology at London Bible College – and never went home – eventually adopting British citizenship. He formed “Really Free” in 1973 and worked for British Youth for Christ as an evangelist and schools’ worker for many years. Later he was Ordained in the American Presbyterian Church, the British equivalent of his denomination is the United Reformed Church.

Cliff was a very good guitarist, keyboard player and vocalist. He wrote some great songs which communicated his faith. He had perfect pitch – and would sometimes wander across the stage and tune my bass (whilst I was playing it) if the tuning had slipped!

One incident to share from my time on the road with Cliff. In June 1975 we were touring in Scotland and the third week we ended up in Ayr on the West Coast. The local paper ran a piece about the ‘Jesus Freak rock band “Really Free”’ were coming to the Ayr Academy, describing us as ‘graduates of the London Bible College’. In the first RE lesson in school, we confessed that only Cliff was a graduate – the rest of us were simply off the street! The RE teacher promptly threw us out of the school for coming in under false pretences. So, we hastily rearranged the lunch-time gig to take place in Fort Street Baptist Church. The whole school came – and it was one of the most amazing gigs that I did with Cliff!

Cliff’s heart was for the Gospel and he worked tirelessly for all of his life to bring people to Jesus – using whatever means possible. May he rest in peace and rise in glory.” Rev. Simon Law Rector of Pitsea with Nevendon/Partner in Plankton Records

*a live recording of Wayfaring Stranger by “Really Free” from that gig in Bromley still survives on the British Youth for Christ album ‘Together Apart’ released by Dovetail Records (GEN 009) 1976.

Plankton Records Christmas Radio Show

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We are pleased to announce another first for Plankton Records! Local UK radio station Flame CCR (CCR = Christian and Community Radio) based on the Wirral, Merseyside are broadcasting a 60 minute Christmas programme hosted by Plankton Records partner Keith Dixon.

Keith shared. “I received an offer out of the blue from Flame’s station manager Norman and my DJ friend who works there John Cheek, who have been long time supporters (and music players) of Plankton releases, to create an hour long radio station some time ago and by the time we’d get things moving and in place I suggested doing a programme based around the spiritual meaning around Christmas and to help in this I featured the songs of our beautiful Christmas album ‘Emmanuel’ by Vivienne Neville & Liz Clarke. I really enjoyed making the programme and I hope people get something from it – some great atmospheric festive music if nothing else!”

The programme is being repeated several times during Christmas week on Flame’s schedule. Flame Radio is broadcast on 1521 medium and online in various ways. “I use the Radioplayer app on my phone to listen to John’s programme on Flame” advised Keith.

Visit the Flame website for more details of how you can listen to their programmes – especially our programme of course! (CLICK HERE)

The second coming of Paley’s Watch!

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Our long term goal is to make as much of Plankton Record’s back catalogue available on all major digital music sites and platforms Worldwide. We’ve just taken another step towards this goal with 1994 “November” album (Cat No. PCDN 144) by PALEY’S WATCH now joining Plankton releases available on digital.

PALEY’S WATCH were a UK progressive rock trio, a coming together of three very different artists and creatives, who together created imaginative and intricate classical and acoustic infused original rock music.

The trio of members were accomplished UK guitarist (and long time Plankton artist) Marc Catley already had a number of releases to his name either under his own musical style which he described as ‘classical acoustic rock’ or as series of humorous and satirical songs and albums.  UK drummer, multi-instrumentalist and programmer Duncan Parsons was a drummer with the Non-Stop Random-Access Jazz-Band prior to joining the band and brought his musical wizardry along with his quirky sense of humour to the band. Hungarian born Marianne Velvart was a singer/songwriter, seasoned performer and published poet. All three band members contribute to the songwriting and all share vocal duties too. 

“November” is a progressive rock concept album set in the UK Northern mill town of Bury during the early 1980’s. It tells the story of the lives of six characters during the month of November

“Not only are we pleased to announce that November is at long last available digitally” reports Plankton Records partner Keith Dixon, “but Duncan and Marc are also working on an 8 track compilation of other Paley’s Watch tracks that they’ve brought together with the view of releasing in the very near future. The band is experience a new lease of life – a second coming! Watch this space for more details”.

There is also a new Paley’s Watch Facebook page. To visit (CLICK HERE)

The CD version of “November” is available from our website on-line shop (CLICK HERE)

 

 

New Heatherlyn & Nine Beats Collective EP

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“Losing, loving, lamenting and longing are all around us right now”, says Denver-based artist Heatherlyn. “We’re all in the dance of the deep, and no matter how fragile things seem, the waves of grace and the pull of the tides call us to love more when the waves are highest.”

This new EP from the NINE BEATS COLLECTIVE stable, Heatherlyn’s ‘Dance of the Deep’ EP, is released on all digital music sites/platforms on Friday September 18th and it is a haunting collection of songs to provide soul medicine for heavy times. The EP is a further collaboration with NINE BEATS COLLECTIVE founder and lyricist Steve Bassett from the UK. Writing and performing together on the NINE BEATS COLLECTIVE studio album and subsequent tours in USA and UK, Heatherlyn and Steve have since continued writing with these songs being recorded in Denver and San Diego just before lockdown.

‘Dance of the Deep’ is released as a NINE BEATS COLLECTIVE collaboration to highlight how the Collective – in addition to its core album and project – spins off to an increasingly wide mesh of collabs. It showcases Heatherlyn’s captivating vocals and gift for melody: from the haunting Celtic-vibed lament ‘When Dies the Day”, to the ethereal ambience of ‘Grace, O Grace’, the whimsical playfulness of ‘Paper Boat’ and the uplifting gospel spirit of ‘River’, Heatherlyn delivers the songs with a warmth that will wrap around your heart and gently lift your eyes towards hope.

“Heatherlyn is a rare artist who can make the listener feel like the song is sung purely and only to them, so that it reaches deep into the heart”, explains Steve; “So, our collaborations here are about creating small moments of beauty and hope, to speak stillness and love amidst the chaos. It’s what NINE BEATS COLLECTIVE can do – create collaborations of so many different styles and tastes. We’ll do more!”

Throughout the lockdown and the ensuing, ongoing re-set of the world, Heatherlyn has been busy online with live weekly concerts via her Heatherlynmusic Facebook page, her ‘Storydwelling’ talk-show, as well as guesting on other podcasts, events and online gatherings – continuing to share her passion that love is a powerful force of hope and healing, and that music is a uniquely powerful expression of love.

Heatherlyn, Steve Bassett and EP producer Ben Grace are all part of NINE BEATS COLLECTIVE – an international collective of musicians, troubadours, poets, writers, rebels, provocateurs, and activists exploring the ancient Bible wisdom known as “the beatitudes”. Heatherlyn co-wrote and performs on 5 songs on the critically acclaimed ‘Nine Beats to the Bar’ album – itself available on all digital music site/platforms Worldwide as well as on CD & deluxe 180g Double Vinyl from this very website.

To view/buy the “Nine Beats to the Bar” CD (Click here)

To view/buy the “Nine Beats to the Bar” Double Vinyl (Click here)

New Nine Beats remix single released

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July 10th sees the single “Call ‘Em Out (Euro Remix)” by Nine Beats Collective ft. Eric Leroy Wilson available WORLDWIDE on all digital music sites & platforms.

With dynamic music and free verse poetry  “Call ‘Em Out (Euro Remix)” is unpredictable, melodic, with a hard-edged beat. Eric delivers deep lyrics that channel the revered USA theologian/civil rights activist Howard Thurman. This is music with a message, shards of jazz, R&B, and hip-hop essence pulling the listener in. The unfurling, swirling quality of the track is underpinned by the heart and soul of Eric’s passionate and emotive spoken word.

Eric wrote the lyrics after one of the initial creative hothouse sessions with other Collective members who had come together to share thoughts, ideas and collaborative talents. He shares, “[One of the] NINE BEATS COLLECTIVE shared this idea that was just so evocative about calling forth ghosts of those things that need to be woken up in our lives; so I’ve written “Call ’Em Out” which attempts to call out and evoke those ghosts of our better selves that are inside of us.”

NINE BEATS COLLECTIVE is an international collaboration of world class musicians, artists, and songwriters who have come together from different continents, different cities, and different experiences, exploring the ancient biblical wisdom known as ‘the beatitudes’. Malibu-based

The original version of “Call ‘Em Out” is found on the NINE BEATS COLLECTIVE double album NINE BEATS TO THE BAR. Acclaimed by critics, it is an eclectic soundscape of R&B, soul, rock/pop, acoustic threads, classical, jazz/funk, African vibes, and a hint of gospel. It is available on all digital music site/platforms Worldwide and on CD and deluxe 180g double vinyl from this website

To view/buy the “Nine Beats to the Bar” CD (Click here)

To view/buy the “Nine Beats to the Bar” Double Vinyl (Click here)

Copies of rare Ben Okafor CDs unearthed

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Rare CD copies of Ben Okafor’s 2001 “Shadows” album have been unearthed and we are pleased to say that they are now available via the shop on this very website – while stocks last!

Plankton Records partner Keith Dixon explained: ” About 20 years ago, our friend BEN OKAFOR had released 2 cassette albums on his own record label, Roadsweeper Records, in his homeland of Nigeria. He wanted to release them on CD and we (Plankton) came alongside to help him with sorting out the artwork, mastering and production of the CDs in the UK and then shipping them to Nigeria.”

“We picked ‘Shadows’ as the first album to manufacture as it featured all new unreleased recordings and also included two songs that had not been released on any Ben Okafor release anywhere else. For the record, the second release was called ‘Rhythm & Creed’ and although it went through all the origination processes we never got to manufacture CD copies. From memory, the difference between the two albums is that ‘Rhythm & Creed’ was a compilation of existing recordings taken from Ben’s earlier releases”

“Coming right back up to date – Due to an enquiry via Ben’s (and our) old friend Paul Vincent we trawled through all the product we have in storage at Plankton HQ and to my surprise and delight I unearthed an unopened box of ‘Shadows’ CDs so we have added this great title to our website shop – but once they’re gone, that’s it!”

To view details of the album in our discography section, which includes some song excerpts and a direct link to the album in this website’s shop CLICK HERE